Isako Isako

Forthcoming September 4th, 2018 from Alice James Books
Preorder from AJB [here] or Amazon [here]

 

Isako Isako is a powerful testament to poetry’s capacity for alchemizing history, memoir, and the lyric: the poems here intimately address the landscapes of war and the reverberations of violence through bodies and bloodlines. Malhotra’s visionary debut collection spans generations, countries, and loves, weaving the story of a mother survivor with reflections on the limits and reaches of memory. Sandalwood cities, desert gardens, dragon skin, and peach pits emerge from a shadowed past, details that ‘elude / even as they’re remembered.’ ”  —Brynn Saito

 

“Mia Malhotra labors in the mythic burdens and beauties of an ancestral story, delivering a vision that proliferates beyond the usual borders between generations, nations, or collective eras of psychic trauma. In these poems, haunted equally by historical event and the timelessness of human suffering, we find a stunning imagination at work on the sacred task of bodying forth, through an uncommon compassion, the stories that history might otherwise eclipse. The multiplicities here are deeply felt through the invention of the transgenerational consciousness of Isako–she who suffers recurringly all the bitter privations of war, starvation, exile. In lyrics that leap, stutter and start again, the reader feels Isako’s voice both across and poignantly through the confines of literal time and place. Malhotra’s poetry demonstrates what is still best in us, the counterpart to cruelty coming back in the surviving descendant’s intimacies and empathies, her innovations in language and, ultimately, love.”  —Pimone Triplett

 

“The personal pronoun ‘I’ has brinks on all sides, over which you can fall and become anyone and no one. Isako, Isako deeply explores these soaring and dangerous precipices of identity through the magnetic voice of a Japanese-American internment camp survivor who is both an individual and collective, a citizen and a prisoner, broken and healing. Mia Ayumi Malhotra has written a brilliant and searing debut.”  –Maria Hummel